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GiveCentral's 2016 Insights on Nonprofit Giving report uncovers Americans’ charitable giving habits.
Fundraising Success

Are You Integrating Your Giving Options?

Why Integrating Offline and Online Giving Will Be Key to Your Fundraising Success

The evolving role of offline and online giving and how it affects your mission

by Jordan GoodWe’re living in a time of nearly unparalleled technical innovation. Software and devices that would have seemed unthinkable 5 or 10 years ago are now essential parts of our daily lives. At the forefront of innovation is the Internet. Who would have thought so much of our lives would be intertwined with cloud-based services, websites and software? For nonprofit organizations, technical innovation in software and technical solutions is revolutionizing how we operate, and integrating new technologies into your existing giving programs is crucial.Is online giving a part of your organization’s fundraising strategy? In our 2015 survey report: Predictions for Nonprofit Giving, 48% of respondents received online donations, while 58% received paper check donations. As more donors look for ways to simplify giving and make tracking their donations easier, online giving will become less of a convenience and more of a necessity for nonprofit organizations. Here are just a few of the ways integrating your offline and online giving will be essential to your fundraising success:

  1. It will save you considerable time (so you can focus on your mission). I used to work for a church, and I know that often times there are multiple systems for managing payments —one for automated clearing house (ACH), one for checks and cash, one for credit cards…you get the idea. With integrated giving solutions such as GiveCentral, your organization can manage all of these giving options in one place. Plus, it will save all data about your donors in one place—perhaps a donor makes a cash donation at one event, but makes a credit card donation for your annual giving campaign. All donation records are saved and available in one place.You save time by not having to enter data into multiple systems, or not having to pull and compare that data at tax time or to reconcile accounting. With the security and capabilities of integrated giving solutions like GiveCentral, the process becomes so much simpler, your staff or volunteers are able to focus their time on more mission-critical tasks.
  2. It can help you provide better service to your donors. When all of your donation data is in one place, running reports or sending donor communications is made much Today, donors want and expect to see detailed reporting on their giving, especially at tax time. When they receive one, simple and easy-to-understand communication without any mistakes, they’re able to easily take that document for their tax preparation. You make your donors’ lives easier, and make it easier to give in the future. Plus, by leaving a positive impression with donors, they’re more likely to spread the word about your organization to their family and friends.
  3. It will make “now” easier, while preparing you for the future. When was the last time you wrote a check at the grocery store? Have you noticed you carry less cash and are using a credit card more often? This is the shift that’s happening across the US today—people are using traditional payment methods like cash and checks less, and are leaning more toward credit cards, online and mobile giving. Entering accounting data into two, three or even four systems for all these giving methods takes time and can lead to errors.With GiveCentral, you enter data for all donations in one place, and once a donor record is set up, that donor is tracked for all donations and communication. You won’t have to integrate data across systems or spreadsheets in order to pull accurate reports— all the information you need is in one system (plus, using one system like GiveCentral versus multiple systems for each reduces costs, saving time and making accounting easier). Accounting right now becomes simpler by integrating your offline and online giving. And when the inevitable happens—people simply stop using cash and checks to donate—you’ll have the infrastructure in place to not miss a beat.Your donors will be happy because they can continue giving in the way that’s most convenient for them, and your employees and volunteers will be happy that they don’t have to change how they input and manage donations. Everyone is happier, and you have more time and energy to focus on your mission.

I love helping nonprofit organizations with GiveCentral. I get to see firsthand how it helps them operate more efficiently, save money and have more time to focus on mission-critical tasks.Time Savings in ActionOne organization had an employee who spent a significant amount of time processing donations—she was regularly processing more than 100 checks at a time. Manually inputting that data was incredibly time consuming—she reported that literally half of her time was spent on just this one task. GiveCentral can scan checks and automatically input the data into your records. And for repeat donors, the system will automatically recognize when a check comes from that same person, reducing time even further so you don’t have to re-enter their information. The system automatically adds the latest donation to their profile. When the leader of this organization realized they could free up half of an employee’s time to work on more mission-critical tasks, their eyes lit up. Just this one functionality of an integrated offline and online giving solution changed their operations dramatically. Yet there really is so much more.Our website provides many resources and information, or you can call me directly at (312) 929-2306. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have or help you understand how integrating your offline and online giving will boost your fundraising efforts.

GiveCentral Go Mobile App Donation

How Mobile Donations are Transforming the Giving Industry

by Stacey Kiran

Giving is evolving – and mobile is at the forefront

Now that we’re in 2015, it’s getting hard to remember a time before mobile phones. Odds are you might even be reading this blog post on a mobile device. Mobile donations refers to donating to an organization through a mobile device.

According to Pew Research, 90% of American adults own a mobile phone.That’s pretty incredible.We’re performing tasks on our devices that we wouldn’t have dreamed of performing just five years ago. But these ubiquitous devices have become our go-to choice for quick, convenient transactions.

Mobile donations could unlock huge potential in the market for small and big organizations. We recently wrapped up our 2015 Nonprofit Giving Survey Report with predictions for nonprofit giving. In it, participating organizations spoke loudly—they are ready for mobile. Right now only 6 percent receive mobile donations, but 23 percent are able to measure mobile payment processing and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) would embrace real-time donor transactions.In that same survey report, 84 percent of respondents believe their staff generally embraces technology change. You’re ready to start accepting mobile donations, now it’s just time to start. Here are three ways mobile is poised to transform donor giving and make a real impact on your organization:

  1. Mobile giving can actually reduce overhead. New technology doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact, mobile giving can be one of the most cost efficient methods. With our GiveCentral tool, 98 to 99 percent of the donations go directly to the charity, with donated funds automatically debited from donor accounts. That’s an 8 to 9 percent increase in funds direct to charity versus the traditional mobile giving model.
  1. Mobile giving makes it easy to give. Donors (new and existing) are on their mobile devices, but they’re also on social media, they’re at home on the phones, they’re reading their email. The point of mobile giving isn’t that it’s replacing traditional giving methods, but that it’s ensuring you are where your donors want you to be. It’s an “and” world right now, not an “or” world—be everywhere your donors are, and they’re more likely to give. Mobile can also enable you to stay more connected to donors. On average, recurring donors give 42 percent more per year than one-time donors. Your donors are on their mobile phones—stay with them.
  1. Mobile makes it easy to receive. Without a doubt, enabling mobile giving will make it easier for your donors to give, and (hopefully) give often. But it can also make receiving significantly easier for your organization. GiveCentral Go is revolutionizing how organizations accept credit card donations during events. For example, auctions and other nonprofit events can be massive affairs—months or years of planning come down to a perfectly execution. GiveCentral Go provides a simple, quick interface for giving at your events, plus a simple system for receiving and processing donations. Your smartphone serves as the hub with encrypted transactions sent securely from your device and synced to your GiveCentral account. Receipts are automatically emailed to donors.

Want to learn how mobile giving can fit into your organization? Email me directly at stacey@givecentral.org and we’ll walk through it together.

GiveCentral Survey Report: 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving

The Times, They are a Changin’ – New Survey Report on Technology and Nonprofit Giving

by Bridget Mayer

New Nonprofit Giving Survey: 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving

Communication and Technology Adoption Key to the Future of Donor Management

front cover of the GiveCentral 2015 "Predictions for Nonprofit Giving" Survey ReportChange is practically synonymous with a new year and this rings true for nonprofit organizations in 2015. The next few weeks and months are a time for fresh fundraising strategies and an overall penchant to shake things up.Technology is one area in particular that is driving forward change within nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, regardless of the industry. Here at GiveCentral, we’re constantly striving to learn more about technology’s transformative effect on donor giving and how organizations are responding to the digital age’s influence. Whether it be how mobile technology is mixing things up or how donor management tools have changed, it’s important to us to stay on top of the latest trends.We recently conducted a proprietary survey among more than 80 nonprofit senior executives, including senior religious leaders, Chief Executives, Chief Financial Officers and development managers across a wide range of nonprofit organizations. We wanted to identify the best donor management practices and understand the biggest giving-related challenges and opportunities that nonprofits will face in 2015.You can download the full report here. What we found in our inaugural report, 2015 Predictions for Nonprofit Giving, was both enlightening and encouraging. Senior executives of nonprofits recognize there are many challenges ahead—from the increasing level of competition for donors to the pressure of technological change. The good news, however, is that they are preparing for the future.A few statistics in particular stuck out to us as we dove into the data, including the importance of effective donor communication to engage with donors, how donors are becoming more comfortable with online giving and the need for increased technology education. Below, I’ve outlined these findings.To ensure your organization is positioned to increase its donations in 2015, please check out the full report for a comprehensive look at the current nonprofit giving environment.

Lack of Communication Puts Donor Relations at Risk

Many nonprofit executives reveal that the greatest barrier to donor engagement and giving is a lack of communication.

  • Despite 84 percent of respondents reporting their organization embraces technology change, more than one-quarter (27 percent) do not have a formal email communication schedule in place and only 10 percent send weekly donor emails.
  • One-quarter (26 percent) still rely on weekly printed newsletters. As a result, nonprofit senior executives are leaving many opportunities on the table to communicate and engage with donors to build stronger relationships and increase giving.

Donor Fear of Technology Diminishing

Nonprofit senior executives said that although they still face some hesitation from donors when it comes to technology, more and more are becoming comfortable with digital channels.

  • 84 percent of nonprofits recognize the importance of catering to a new generation of donors and embrace technology change.
  • Only one-in-ten nonprofits retain fully manual donation processing, demonstrating the prevalence of technological advances in giving programs.

Donor Education is Key to Embracing Technology Change

While donors are becoming more comfortable with the idea of technology change, increased education is needed to close the gap. At the same time, organizations are confident their donors can move past the perceived complexity of online giving programs.

  • Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents said their donors don’t understand online giving.
  • Yet, only 12 percent of respondents say online giving technology is too complex for their organization to use.

As you usher in 2015’s changes and begin to prepare for the years down the road, we’re hopeful that the donor giving information in this survey from nonprofit leaders is valuable to your organization. Whether it’s gaining a small piece of insight, finding comfort that you’re on track for technology’s demands or even realizing you are behind the digital curve when it comes to nonprofit giving, please let us know what you thought of the survey results in the comments below.Wait, there’s more!To confirm you are positioned to increase your donations in 2015, please contact me at bridget@givecentral.org to schedule an analysis of your donor management practices.

online tithing

Debunking Online Giving Myths

Online Giving Myths

Debunking These and Revealing the Truth

To say the Internet has had a huge effect on our society would be a gross understatement. The reality is, the digital age has transformed more parts of our society than we could even count. From business operations and communicating with loved ones, to consuming media, the list goes on and on. And we all have to stay on our toes as technology evolves, introducing new opportunities and challenges.

One major opportunity the digital age has brought forth is the ability for donors to give money to organizations digitally. With a swipe, click or tap, people now have the ability to donate whenever and to whatever organization they want.

While this is a great advancement forward for the industry, some organizations are still wary of introducing online giving programs. The reasons why nonprofits are apprehensive can run the gamut, but I wanted to pause and debunk some of the major myths associated with online giving.

Myth #1: Online giving services charge high fees that take a large amount of money from my organization.

Truth: While online programs do require processing fees to operate effectively, the increased amount of donations gained by offering online giving as an option outweighs any fee structure. Online donations rose 13.5 percent last year, according to Giving USA. This is nearly three times the rate of overall contribution growth, which means that while fees can be a deterrent from the online giving game, you don’t want to be left sitting on the bench. Even more compelling: GiveCentral reports that organizations have seen growth of 10 percent per month after introducing an online giving program.

GiveCentral is also proud to present fees that are on average only 1-2 percent of total online donations. This is significantly lower than other services available to nonprofits.

Myth #2: People are either online donors or offline donors, without any crossover.

Truth: No nonprofit wants to alienate a potential donor by not offering multichannel donation options. If you stick with either solely online or offline fundraising options, though, you’re bound to miss out on donations from folks who like a wide variety of giving options.

The key is to find the right mix for your organization and its donor audience. Perhaps supplementing a direct mail campaign with a follow up email makes sense for your nonprofit. Or maybe you want to overhaul your whole fundraising strategy to cover every possible donation avenue—from text-to-give, to online giving to check collection and more. Take the pulse of your donors and implement a giving program that maximizes potential donations.

Myth #3: The technology needed to facilitate online giving is too complicated and difficult for my staff to use.

Truth: Many online giving programs can be set up within hours, allowing nonprofits to start collecting donations electronically almost right away. While there are initial set-up steps that require your staff’s expertise, once a program is up and running, there is very little maintenance required. Of course, organizations are encouraged to manage and update their programs as they gain familiarity with the services and understand the benefits.

If you’re still weary of the burden an online giving system could place on your administrative support staff, keep in mind that many organizations provide set-up support and ongoing consultative services to ensure success.

Technology that enhances the donation process for everyone, and is easy to use, is the hallmark of GiveCentral’s services. By consolidating all collection, fundraising and communication activities in one place, GiveCentral’s platform makes it easier for donors to give, for nonprofits to reach out, and for administrators to save time on accounting and data management. Everybody wins!

There are many more myths about online giving out there, but knowledge is power. Make sure you explore all the options available to you, and do sufficient research, before you make a quick judgment about online giving. And remember: trying something new always has risks, but it also can provide great rewards. Learn more about how GiveCentral can enhance your fundraising efforts.

 

PS: Here at GiveCentral, we strive to stay on top of the latest trends, challenges and opportunities that affect our clients. We want to make sure we can answer your questions about popular myths, for example, while also providing you with unique insights and data about our industry. 

Right after the new year, we’ll be releasing exciting new survey information here on the blog, so please be sure to visit us in once we flip the calendar to 2015!

best Online giving strategy

Infographic – How Online Giving Can Revitalize Your Annual Campaign

INFOGRAPHIC

Online Giving Best Practices

Recently, we shared our new white paper on best practices for rejuvenating your annual campaign with online strategies. Because everything is more fun with pictures, we’ve taken our tips to the next level in our latest infographic.Make your way around the “8” to get additional perspective on how to bring a fresh approach to your organization’s annual campaign.

INFOGRAPHIC: Rejuvenate your annual campaign with online giving: 8 best practices for success!

GiveCentral Fundraising Platform

What’s New? GiveCentral’s Website!

New Features to Enhance Fundraising

You may have noticed that some things look a little different around here since the last time you visited. That’s because we’ve re-launched our website to empower you, our nonprofits, to enhance the fundraising experience in innovative and exciting ways.In addition to a fresh look and feel, the GiveCentral team has been hard at work based on feedback from our clients to ensure that superior functionality, improved site design and new ways to give are at the forefront of the user experience.You may be wondering, what exactly does this mean? It means that GiveCentral’s website now offers:

  • Mobile Responsive Design: In an increasingly mobile world, smartphones, tablets and other devices are how users want opportunities to donate. GiveCentral’s new site is completely mobile responsive so donors and nonprofits can easily access their accounts no matter where they are.
  • Online Profiles: Nonprofits with GiveCentral accounts can now create completely customizable online profile pages to manage all the information about their organization — from the latest giving opportunities, to social media activity, to photos and videos.
  • No Expiration Dates: With GiveCentral’s new website, donors don’t have to set an expiration date on a recurring donation to a nonprofit of their choice. In the past, end dates were required and could cause challenges when users wanted to continue giving. This is a very important feature for nonprofits as well, as on average, recurring donors give 42 percent more per year than one-time donors.

Giving today is about being flexible, creating connections, and promoting greater transparency. We want donors to be able to give in any way that is convenient for them — via text, via mobile, via swipe, via desktop, during the day, late at night, and in multiple languages.Tell us what you think about our new website in the comments or on social media. We’d love to get your feedback!

Holiday Giving

‘Tis the Season for Giving

Holiday Giving

‘Tis the Season for Donations

While Christmas is still more then seven weeks away, a trip to the mall or a dial of the radio says otherwise. Many aspects of the holiday season are already out in full effect, and that includes donors looking to give to charitable causes before the end of the year.

In fact, according to the latest GiveCentral press release, charitable donations will soon reach their peak levels of the year, with the Chronicle of Philanthropy reporting that one-third of all annual donations are made in December. This heightened giving activity requires that nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes be prepared to maximize donations and handle the influx of transactions and dollars.

So how do organizations maximize donations and handle the influx of transactions and dollars?

The simple answer is that technology must be leveraged. We will continue to see this trend increase as more and more donors and nonprofit organizations become comfortable with electronic giving options such as online giving, mobile giving and text-to-give:

  • online giving – online giving has grown 11.8 percent year-over-year, while overall giving has grown only 3.8 percent.
  • mobile giving  – According to a 2013 Google/Compete study, 25 percent of donors report that they donated on a mobile device, with almost half doing so through a mobile browser.
  • text-to-give – Nearly one-in-ten Americans has made a donation via text message, according to Pew.

With so many donors using technology to make donations, GiveCentral has prepared its clients for the heavy giving season by arming them with the electronic tools necessary to best leverage the season. This includes centralizing all collection, fundraising and communication activities in one place.

We also recommend the following solutions to ease the burden for nonprofits and increase donations:

  • Provide customized holiday templates for all types of communication, including personalized mobile texting solutions.
  • Offer quick, smooth account set up for new clients, including donor and contact upload for a seamless transition.
  • Create consistent tangible support materials, such as flyers and enrollment forms, for donors who want to sign up for electronic giving, but may not have immediate Internet access. Make these materials available in the languages that are important to  your community.
  • Anticipate a need for flexibility, allowing donors to give late at night or on the weekend.

For more information on holiday giving, and additional tips on how your nonprofit can best manage the season, please see the latest GiveCentral press release here.

online Giving technology

How Scary Is The Increasing Role of Technology in Giving?

Technology

Some Find its Role in Giving Scary

by Jordan Good Vice President of Operations for GiveCentralThe GiveCentral 2015 survey ‘Predictions for Nonprofit Giving‘ is currently live and has already gathered some fascinating insight from people like you who are developing their organization’s 2015 donor management strategies.Some of the early analysis suggests that both nonprofit organizations and donors fear the increasing role of technology in giving. Currently, more than half of the survey respondents (53 percent) worry that their donors generally fear technology change, and almost one in five donor administrators (18 percent) fear they are not keeping up with the pace of technology change in order to add value to their organization.This fear could well be described as a fear of the unknown. Many administrators worry that technology is too complicated for their audience, or that the benefits don’t outweigh the perceived challenges of using online and mobile technology as part of their donation strategy.However, organizations that have used online and mobile donor tools from GiveCentral report a quicker and more consistent giving experience from their donors and by their own administrators. Over two-thirds of respondents to the survey (69 percent) to date agree that real-time transactions have benefited their donor giving campaign. More than half (56 per cent) confirm that their fears regarding online payment security were unfounded and that payment card pre-authorization has added real value to their donor’s ease of giving.When you were a child on Halloween trick or treating could be scary at times, but as you grew older it was less frightening and more fun to be out with your friends and family. The more you knew the less fear you had. I hope these early trends from our survey provide some reassurance of the value from using donor technologies and dispel some fears.There is still time to participate and receive your complimentary copy of our analysis report. Please click here to share your insights.

easy tithe

Rejuvenating the Annual Campaign with Online Giving

by Vish VassSenior Vice President and Managing Director for GiveCentral

Annual campaigns typically represent the biggest source of revenue for religious organizations, placing great importance on the strategies surrounding a campaign’s theme, setup and execution. The pressure to continue to come up with effective annual campaigns is often challenging, as by definition, they are required year after year. Not only are annual campaigns a significant undertaking for those planning and executing them, but overall competition for donors is also formidable.  According to Giving USA 2014: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, total charitable giving amounted to $335 billion in the last year, but the level of giving to faith-based organizations was flat. In addition, more than one million organizations are vying for those donations, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.This can make it that much more difficult for small, local parishes to get their message to potential donors.

There are so many appeals for aid out there, many of them promoted by large organizations with expensive and flashy multimedia campaigns.With a need for consistently fresh ideas and strategies to clear the hurdle of donor competition, many religious organizations look to rejuvenate their annual campaigns in a variety of ways. One route to help cut through all the noise is to enhance the giving experience and your relationship with your donors through technology, of which many different tactics are discussed in GiveCentral’s latest white paper, “Rejuvenating the Annual Campaign with Online Giving: 8 Best Practices for Success.”

Go Digital

Across the board in 2013, online donations were up 13.5 percent, nearly three times the rate of growth for overall contributions, reported Giving USA. . This percentage was even higher for faith-based organizations, which saw an increase in online giving of 18.1 percent. GiveCentral’s own research shows that churches that implement online giving programs report growth of up to 50 percent in total donations.  This demonstrates a clear opportunity for churches to enhance their giving programs through electronic solutions.GiveCentral recommends the following best practices for religious organizations and other nonprofits looking for a fresh approach to their annual campaigns:

  1. Track progress throughout the campaign, including effectiveness of each tactic – Clearly document activities along the way so you can use them for post-campaign evaluation. This will give help you understand where electronic giving had the most impact and where more traditional methods may be stronger.
  2. Employ targeted marketing techniques – Use your donor management system to segment your donor list so they receive personalized and customized communications that encourage them to give.
  3. Communicate with donors on a consistent and frequent basis – While the annual campaign is the highlight of the giving year, communicating consistently with donors throughout the year will yield greater results. In fact, organizations using GiveCentral have bolstered revenue by 30 percent when they deliver messaging to donors on a regular basis.
  4. Take action to engage donors throughout the year – Let donors know they are special members of your community through a variety of methods, including inviting them to exclusive gatherings, highlighting them on your website or sending them handwritten notes. Establish a schedule for ongoing communications and stick with it.

 Interested in learning what the remaining four best practices for rejuvenating annual campaigns are? Check out the latest GiveCentral white paper for more valuable advice and information.

GiveCentral's tradeshow booth before the opening of NCDC 2013

Developing a Winning Conference Participation Strategy

by Bridget Mayer, Director of Business Development at GiveCentralNow that the seasons have officially changed, many of us have started to enjoy fall’s perennial offerings, including cooler temperatures, beautiful changing leaf colors and of course, a caramel apple or two.Fall also ushers in a very busy time of year for more than just pumpkin patches. For nonprofit and religious administration managers, along with many leaders at for-profit businesses, the start of autumn marks the start of the busy conference season. Many of us will travel near and far to attend annual gatherings over the next several months, juggling the responsibilities of our day jobs with the inherent craziness of conference participation.Developing a winning conference participation strategy is key to ensuring you take full advantage of all the conference’s benefits. Here at GiveCentral, we’ve spent last week connecting with industry colleagues new and old at the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference (DFMC) and are busy preparing for National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) which starts October 4th.Since we’re in the thick of it, we wanted to share some advice on developing a winning conference strategy to help you make the most out of your conference participation:Identify your goals before you arrive You need to choose the conferences that will give you and your business the best ROI in terms of your goals. It’s important to come prepared with established participation goals and that your any participants from your organization understand these goals.

What do you want to get out of the conference? How many leads/connections are you looking to generate? Are you focusing on promotion/branding or do you have a product to demo?

You can have more than one goal, of course, but the point is that you need to be clear about what your participation in the conference is going to achieve. Determine what your ROI would be—if one new customer helps you justify you being at the event, then focus on connecting with as many participants as possible in order to unearth and connect with that customer.For example, many of the attendees at DFMC are finance and accounting-focused professionals who are focused on learning how to best cut down the costs associated with managing their organization’s capital campaigns. We looked to connect with the attendees to inform them about how, without breaking the bank, our electronic giving systems allows users to get comprehensive donor functionality to easily:

  • Manage donor relations
  • Access donation activity
  • Run reports/managing donor accounts
  • Send and manage donor communications

In the booth, we conducted live demonstrations of our GiveCentral Go technology, our easy-to-use card reader for mobile devices, which is perfect for off-site donor events. In addition, for those that received our pre-conference email, made a donation to Catholic Relief Services and visited our booth, we gladly matched their gift right there in the booth using GiveCentral Go!

GiveCentral's tradeshow booth before the opening of NCDC 2013
Our booth at NCDC 2013 – pardon our old tagline!

For the upcoming NCDC, our focus will be to connect development directors whose priorities differ from a CFO. Tending to be the end users and executors of the ins and outs of giving programs, their goals are zoned in on how they can best save time with giving logistics and enhance their programs—both of which are right up GiveCentral’s alley!Carve out time to build connectionsBuilding personal relationships are a key benefit of conference participation. Conferences are ripe for connecting with potential customers, but it’s also a time to build on the relationships you already have. If you know people that you want to reconnect with or get to know better who will be attending—clients, vendors, friends-of-friends—reach out a few weeks before the conference to set up a time to meet for coffee or a meal while you’re at the event.That’s what we did for DFMC. These one-on-one conversations allow us the opportunity to understand donor needs and to talk about how GiveCentral has worked with hundreds of church and diocesan offices as well many non-profit organizations to help them meeting that challenge via electronic giving.Friendly follow-upRemember that the conference doesn’t end with the closing session. In fact, in most cases this is when the important relationship building and sales work starts. You need to keep your business at the front of your prospects’ minds by staying in touch after the event. This increases the chance of converting your leads into sales.Following DFMC, we’ll be following up with all the great connections we made via personal emails, phone call and/or face-to-face meetings. We’ll also be looking to share a copy of our upcoming survey GiveCentral: 2015 Predictions for Giving which is set to launch in early October. Our goal with the survey is to better understanding donor giving preferences and the role technology increasingly plays in non-profit donations. Once launched, the survey will be accessible from our home page at www.givecentral.org.Pay it forwardYou gained a lot of new information, inspiration and contacts at the conference, now it’s time to share the knowledge with fellow colleagues, prospects and clients. For example, send clients and prospects, especially if they couldn’t make the conference, links to session videos or presentations you thought were particularly valuable. This knowledge share is a great value-add to any relationship.No matter what your fall schedule has in store for you, we hope this advice on developing a winning conference participation strategy proves valuable. And if you’re headed to NCDC, we look forward to seeing you!